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Drugs – legal and illegal

Cannabis accounts for 83 per cent of all drug offences in Britain-yet the drug causes neither violence nor death. Alcohol, a legal drug, causes some 25,000 deaths a year. Duncan Campbell examines the arguments for and against legalising some drugs and wonders why the issue is being debated more seriously in the police force than in parliament

By Duncan Campbell   April 1996

Take three court cases in February this year. In the first, in a court in Larnaca, Cyprus, a member of the Royal Greenjackets regiment explains during his trial for manslaughter how he had been so drunk when he had battered a Danish tour guide with a spade, that he could not remember which of his two fellow soldiers, both also drunk, had actually beaten her to death. In the second, at Worcester crown court, a man is convicted of selling by mail order, through Private Eye and Viz magazines, a book that teaches people how to grow cannabis and is…

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